The Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils are an unfamiliar face in the opening round of the ACC Tournament, but after finishing the season 11-11 and 9-9 in conference play, a tournament championship is their only chance of making the big dance…and they played like it.
From tip-off the Blue Devils set the tone on defense, forcing five turnovers in a little over five minutes and jumping out to a 10-2 lead. Duke wouldn’t look back, defeating Boston College 86-51.
In key losses during the season the Blue Devils had a hard time taking care of the ball and the backcourt struggled making shots. Neither were an issue Tuesday afternoon as Duke shot 15-32 from three and took care of the ball relatively well – turning it over 12 times to BC’s 20.
“In the games that we’ve played well we haven’t turned the ball over and we played good, got good shots and we haven’t started out in a hole,” Coach K said after the win. “Today playing like that to begin with. We played a really good game. Our perimeter was outstanding. They shared the ball. We had 22 assists. We shot the ball well.”
“We came here yesterday. We drove in to do our 45-minute practice just to get a good feel because we knew there wouldn’t be hardly any warmup for our game. And our kids really — the perimeter really shot the ball well yesterday. Sometimes you do that the day before the game and not the day of, but it seemed to carry over.”
With their NCAA Tournament hopes clinging to how well they play this week, Krzyzewski talked to his young squad about how special the Greensboro Coliseum has been to Blue Devil teams of the past, emphasizing how important it is to take this experience one moment at a time.
“I told them before the 45 minutes started, before the balls were given out, that — I just told them a few stories about some of the games that were played there. The first championship that we won in ’86, Coach Scheyer against Georgia Tech. It was about 1 for 11 and we called his number, and he hit a big shot that won us the tournament.”
“I said, you know, look, Greensboro Coliseum is about moments. I said, try to have a moment tomorrow, and if we have the moment tomorrow, maybe you’ll have another one. Don’t look at it as five games or anything like that. Just try to take advantage of each day that we’re given the opportunity to play.”
The Blue Devils will continue to try to string together special moments tomorrow at 6:30 pm when they take on the Louisville Cardinals.